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The Community 
Resource Kit 

Guidance for people setting up and 
running community organisations 

Te Tari Taiwhenua 

Section 1 1 



Section 1 

Getting started 

Section 2 


Section 3 

Organisational structures 

Section 4 


Section 5 


Section 6 


Section 7 

Financial management 

Section 8 


Section 9 

Raising funds 

Section 10: Employment 

Section 1 1 : Communications 

Section 12: Information technology 


1 Introduction 

What's in this section? 
Communication tools 

2 Communications planning 

Communication planning process 

Your communications plan 

Communications plan template 

7 Communicating via the media 

Good relationships with the media 
What's newsworthy? 

Checklist for approaching the media 
When the media comes to you 

Media kits 

Media kits for events 
Media releases 

Notice of event 

How to write a media release 

Media release checklist 

Sample media release 


Doing media interviews 

General media interview checklist 
TV and radio interview checklist 
Corrections and complaints procedures 



Communicating with government 

Communicating with central government 

Government policy development 

Making a submission to a select committee 
Parliamentary inquiries 
Working parties / advisory groups 
Petitions to Parliament 
Official information requests 
Writing to politicians 
Communicating with local government 
Local government relationships 
Ways of having your say 
Local authority planning 
Community outcomes 
Long-Term Council Community Plans 
Annual report 

Attending public council meetings 
Monitoring of local government performance 

Where to go for more information 

Online resources 
Other resources 


Communication is sharing ideas and information. An effective community group 
communicates with a variety of audiences including their own staff and volunteers, the local 
community, stakeholders and the public. Your group can communicate about your goals, 
services and activities. Effective communication helps: 

• raise awareness about an issue and influencing change 

• informs people know what you're doing 
advertising and promotes services, products or events 
attracts new members, supporters and donations. 

What's in this section? 

This section covers various aspects of communication, including: 

communications planning 

• communicating with the public through the media 
communicating with central and local government. 

While this section focuses mainly on communication activities that allow community 
organisations to raise concerns on behalf of their group and their members, the information 
can be applied to any communications, regardless of purpose. 

Communication tools 

You can communicate with internal and external audiences through: 

written material, e.g. annual reports, fact sheets, articles, newsletters, pamphlets, posters, 

media releases, petitions, organisational policies, minutes of meetings, your website, general 

emails, social media and blogs etc. Key documents can be provided for staff and visitors in 

reception areas and on your website 

news media, e.g. newspapers, radio and TV 

phone calls 

direct public influence e.g. protests, public meetings, staff meetings, promotional events, 

speeches/public appearances 

advocacy (including lobbying and forming coalitions) 

submissions (written and verbal) 

networking (formal and informal). 

This section explores the use of some of these tools, while others are covered by other 
sections of this kit (see Section 6 - Meetings and Section 1 2 - Information Technology). 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 1 

Communications planning 

A communications plan helps your group: 

set priorities and focus resources where they are needed most 

clarify your aims and target audiences 

sharpen your message by having key messages 

understand the environment in which you'll deliver that message 

be proactive — avoid reacting only to external events 

integrate your communications work on a particular issue, i.e. media activities, lobbying, 

fundraising, communications with members, etc. 

ensure that everyone in the organisation can clearly communicate your aims and activities. 

The first step in your planning should be forming a communications planning committee. 
The more members of your organisation participate in the planning, the more successful it 
will be. Try to engage staff, board members and volunteers in the process. You may even 
look at appointing someone to lead the committee; this will keep your planning work moving 
and ensure overall continuity. 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 2 

Communication planning process 


What are we communicating about? 



What do we want to achieve with our message? 


Key audiences 

Who exactly are we talking to? Include groups inside as well as 

outside the organisation. 



What are the issues of concern to the key audiences? 

Communication strategy Research 

What is our overall approach and do we know everything we -¥ (if information 

need to? is lacking) 

Key messages 
What are the key messages we want to communicate? 


What channels will we use? What channels do our audiences use? 

Action plan 

What actions are required to start, maintain and complete the 


Accountabilities and timelines 

What are the timelines for each stage, as well as the whole project, 
and who's responsible? 


How much money do we have to spend? 


What is our measurement tool and goal? 


Finalise communications plan 1 

Implement plan 2 

Review progress 3 

Make changes as required 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 3 


1 . To finalise the communications plan: 

Get agreement and sign-off from all participants and organisational authorities. Be clear 
about the agreement so there are no surprises or problems within the group when the 
communication begins. 
• Prepare for impact - what will the communication result in? Will handling increased calls and 
product demands require extra staff? Think this through. 

2. To implement the plan: 

Check all stages are on track. Ensure you obtain sign-off and that delegated authorities are 
clear about their role - make sure everyone knows who is the spokesperson. You may need 
to monitor this. 

3. To review progress: 

Define your review processes. How will you know if you have achieved your goals? How 
often will you review progress? 

Refine the strategy, vehicles or message if review suggests you should. Should you increase 
activity? Decrease? Promote the results or outcomes? 

Your communications plan 

The end result of the full communications planning process is a written communications 
plan (see following template). The plan documents the process for effectively communicating 

with all of your audiences and stakeholders. 

Communications plan template 
Executive summary 

Write this last so you can tie in all information within the plan. Provide an overview of the 
plan. State the problem or opportunity and explain how communications can help. State the 
objectives and expected outcomes, and cite any research used in forming the plan. 


State briefly why you are communicating and what you hope to achieve, e.g. inform the 
public, manage expectations, change behaviour, marketing etc. This doesn't need to be 
longer than a couple of sentences. 


Set the context. How did we get here and why do we need a communications plan? How 
does the project/communications fit with the group's objectives, purpose, vision and 
values? Describe the project and provide background. 

Situation analysis 

Consider the issues that might affect the way you communicate with your audiences/ 
stakeholders. These may be political, environmental, socio-economic, legal, operational, 
etc. Think about types of communications initiatives that could help. Include any research, 
previous history or lessons learned from other projects. 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 4 

Objectives and measures 

What are your communication objectives and how will you measure them? The objectives 
should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). You will need to 
have something to compare your measurements against so the objectives can be evaluated 
at the end. This may involve using formal or informal surveys, team meetings, face-to-face 
enquiries, unsolicited feedback to managers, team leaders, observation, etc. Note: Your 
communications objectives relate only to the effectiveness of your communications and 
shouldn't be confused with the overall project objectives - they are additional. 

Communication objectives 

E.g. To increase awareness of your services 
among new migrant communities by 20 per 


Number of new migrants surveyed after the 
project who were aware of the services you 
provide, compared to those surveyed prior 
to the project commencing 


Identify your key stakeholders. These are people or organisations that have an interest in the 
outcome of the project. 

Person or organisation Their interest Our interest 













Target audiences 

Who are the target audiences you wish to communicate with? Divide your audiences into 
internal and external. Remember to be specific e.g. the external audience may be the 
general public, but existing members of your group may need to receive a different message 
than prospective supporters. In many cases, there will be secondary audiences that need to 
get the message as well. 

Risks/issues and mitigation 

Identify any communication risks or issues that might affect your project and outline 
how you will mitigate them. When identifying risks, be sure to make the distinction between 
what is a risk, and what is a consequence of a risk. Use the matrix below to determine 
the level of risk. Ensure the mitigation strategies are picked up in the Action Plan and 
responsibilities assigned. 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 1 1 : Communications 5 

Risk Mitigation Risk without mitigation Risk with mitigation 

E.g. The organisation 

Consult as widely 

Medium-High (8) 

Medium-Low (2) 

will be criticised for 

as possible, keep 

lack of consultation 

key stakeholders 

Use the following diagram to determine communication risks. 


(if risk occurs) 
















Likelihood (of risk occurring) 

Key messages 

What are the messages you wish to communicate? Ideally there should be one key 
message or phrase people can remember and repeat, or no more than three to five 
important messages you want people to know. Develop a series of secondary messages to 
be used for different audiences or situations. These secondary messages could be in the 
form of questions and answers. Note: Messages are not 'explanations'. Keep them brief. 

Questions and Answers 

Develop a series of questions that you most commonly hear about your organisation, 
and their succinct answers. Follow the 'who what why where when and how' formula. If you 
are holding an event, think about the questions you might be asked about its history and 
inspiration. These Q and As are for the use of anyone who might be asked questions by 
the media. 

Tools and tactics 

What communication tool/approach or combination of tools will be most effective? Most 
communication strategies use several tools. For example a broadcast email will provide 
a different result from an email direct from the chief executive, which will differ again from 
using staff meetings. A media release is a cost-efficient way of getting information to the 
general public, but there is no guarantee of publication, whereas a paid advertisement is 
guaranteed to run. Other tools to consider include newsletters, your website, fliers, posters, 
brochures, face-to-face meetings, blogs, etc. 


Your group's communications plan is for the whole year. You can also have a 
communications plan for any events you want to run or campaigns you want to promote 
which will re-state your key messages and add ones relevant to the event. 

when do your group's main events happen? 

• when are projects or other milestones happening? 

• what else is happening during the year e.g. is it election year? — what impact will that have? 
When are school holidays, with people away? 

include key project milestones or events that you want to tell your stakeholders or 
audiences about. 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 1 1 : Communications 6 

Budget and resources 

Factor in how much communications will cost. You need money for everything from design 
to paper to advertisements and you may need to pay for some external communications 

Action plan 

Outline what needs to be done, who will do it and when. Make sure all those with 
responsibilities agree to them. Your communications plan will need to be regularly monitored 
and updated. Identify whether it is the project manager, project sponsor or who has final 
sign-off on materials. 

Date/Timing Action Responsibility 
















Monitoring and evaluation 

Monitor the effectiveness of your communications plan as the project is implemented, and 
change your tactics if necessary. Get together at the end of the project and determine 
whether your objectives were met, and work out what you would do differently next time. 
For thorough evaluation you might want to take a simple survey of some members of your 
target audiences to see if your message got through. 

Tip: SPARC offers the guide Creating a Stakeholder Communications Plan. It details an 
eight-step planning framework designed for those who don't have a communications 
background. It offers examples and prompts that aim to help you think strategically in 
order to develop a pragmatic communications plan. Available from: http://www.sparc. . 

Communicating via the media 

The media (newspaper, online, TV or radio) is probably the most effective channel for 
voluntary and community organisations to communicate a message to the outside world. 
The public gets much of its information on events and issues from the media, so it is 
influential in framing public perception and also setting the public policy agenda. 

Community groups can use the media to: 

publicise forthcoming events 
make announcements e.g. a new key appointment 
• support local or national awareness weeks/days e.g. international volunteers day 
comment on issues 

promote the importance of their role in the community, or 
publicise a new service 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 1 1 : Communications 7 

Some advantages of using the media include: 

the ability to reach a very wide range of people (i.e. good coverage) 
it's usually free 

• it can be organised at relatively short notice. 

Good relationships with the media 

An ongoing relationship with the media, based on respect and professional integrity, will 
stand your organisation in good stead and help raise your public profile. Once such a 
relationship is established, it should make any future contact with the media easier. 

Keys to good working relationships with the media include: 

Have one designated and mandated media spokesperson who can concentrate on 

building rapport with the media. Choose a person who has an in-depth knowledge of the 

organisation and an ability to articulate ideas clearly in an enthusiastic manner. 

Be honest and tactful. Never exaggerate or distort facts - people working in the media are 

savvy and check facts. Exaggeration and distortion lead to loss of credibility next time you 

offer a story. 

Approach the media only when you have something really newsworthy to offer. 

Don't keep people waiting, be prepared, be patient, don't hassle and don't quibble about 

small matters like appointment times. Journalists are busy people who work in a world of 

pressures and deadlines. 

Be welcoming and have a copy of your media release and a media kit on hand. 

Deal firmly but politely with media demands that you are not able to meet. Do not allow 

yourself to be coerced in any way. If you have checked and cleared your facts, you have 

nothing to worry about. 

Pitfalls to avoid when working with the media include: 

• Don't use the media as your publicity agents. They have strict codes of ethics and will not 
be manipulated. Their job is to report and interpret news honestly. 

• Don't get offside with the media - you won't win, and you will lose future news opportunities 
for your organisation. 

Don't be fussy or pedantic. Everyone makes mistakes. Often mistakes are not glaringly 
obvious - except to you. Unless there is an obvious legal or financial reason for drawing a 
mistake to their attention, let it go. 

What's newsworthy? 

'News' usually interests a general audience rather than just a few individuals. Generally 
speaking, newsworthy events are new events, but something can also be presented in way 
that looks new. Timing plays a large part in newsworthiness, as does a link to some other 
major event or news. 

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether something is newsworthy: 

does your news item have human interest and touch the lives of many people? 

• does your news have drama? 

does your news include people in high places? 

• is your news fresh? 

who will read your media release? 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 8 

Checklist for approaching the media 

Your approach to the media should be well planned and executed. Some guidelines include: 

• appoint the best media spokesperson you possibly can 
get in touch with media well before an event 

approach the journalist most concerned with your area of work or type of story. If you don't 

already have a contact, approach the chief reporter 

always make your approach in person but make an appointment first 

deal with only one journalist in each news organisation 

be obliging and helpful 

• be completely honest about story content 
cover Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? 

• be clear and accurate 
do not demand coverage 

do not expect repeat coverage unless you can offer something different each time 

• supply a media kit (see following checklist) 

• send a Notice of Event, or Invitation and if appropriate, supply two tickets to functions or 
events you would like covered by the media 

if a photographer is wanted, organise for someone to accompany them to supply 

information during the event - especially the correct spelling of names 

approach radio and TV as well as newspapers — do not refer to them as 'the press'. 

When the media comes to you 

When the media calls you, do not respond with impromptu comments unless your group 
has already agreed: 

that you will be the spokesperson, and 

• the key messages to be conveyed. 

If the media call is unexpected or relates to a contentious or tricky issue, take some time to 
compose your response: 

ask exactly what the call is about and what they want to know, e.g. 'what questions 

do you have?' 

say you will call back as soon as you can, that you need to check facts or get 

an update 

ask about the deadline for: 

• your group's response, or 

• the story as a whole - is it part of an ongoing story? 

refer the request to your appointed media spokesperson. If you don't have one, and you 

want someone else to handle the request, don't give a reporter their contact name or phone 

number until you have checked with that person first. Then get that person to return the call 

to the media. 

if you promise to call back, always do so, even to say you don't wish to discuss the matter 

any further (give a reason). This gives you credibility. 

remember that a reporter is always taking notes. Radio and TV reporters will record the 

interview for their bulletins, and some other journalists record conversations as a way of 

taking notes - they should ask your permission first. 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 9 

Media kits 

A media kit is a collection of printed information you have about your group. It might be a 
single page or a series of flyers and brochures of information about your group. Also have 
this information in document or PDF form to email to the media or available online. Include 

• your organisation's mission statement and/or philosophies 

• the structure of your organisation with current contact details 
examples of the work your organisation does, including photographs 

• a copy of your latest magazine or newsletter 

• any up-to-date leaflets or pamphlets, and 

details of your website, blog or social media pages. 

Media kits for events 

Before an event make sure all the key people associated with the event have a copy of your 
media kit and are familiar with its contents. Send or email your media kit to the media, which 
could include: 

any relevant biographies (e.g. of a performer or invited speaker) 

details of the content or reason for the event 


• copies of any reviews 

contact names and phone numbers for the event 

• any relevant posters or newsletters, and 
tickets to any paid event. 


Make your photographs uncluttered and interesting. Take pictures of people doing 
something and being active. Have good focus, contrast and exposure and get close to the 
action. Provide a caption with the date, event, the activity and the names of the people if 
possible. Ask permission to use the names of people in the pictures. 

Have digital photographs in high resolution so that you can use them in your own 
newsletters or supply the media if requested. 

Media releases 

Write a media release for any event or announcement. The release can be sent out to media 
as a follow-up to a preliminary phone call. It is the key to building a successful relationship 
with any media and should accompany all approaches for news coverage. 

Notice of event 

A Notice of Event is an invitation to an event you are organising; it is sent to media at least 
a week before the event. Explain what is happening, when, where and why, who will be 
attending. Give a summary of events so that the media knows if it is appropriate to send a 
photographer to your event. A Notice of Event does not require quotes from anyone, but 
it is essential to include a contact name and phone number so the media can arrange the 
best time to attend your event. 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 10 

How to write a media release 

A media release needs to 'inform' people, not sell them something. If you are new to writing 
a media release, grab the latest daily newspaper and read some of their articles or find 
someone to help who has the necessary experience. 

Media release checklist 

A checklist of things to remember when writing a media release are: 

head the release MEDIA RELEASE 

give it a punchy, succinct title 

date it 

state the source of the release i.e. who it is from 

use the first sentence and the first paragraph (the 'intra') to convey the main message i.e. 

the essence of what you want to communicate 

• focus on what is unique and interesting about your story 

give as many facts as possible (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?) 
write in a simple straightforward style 

• use active language e.g. write 'Large crowds attended the opening' rather than 'The 
opening was attended by large crowds' 

make the release as short as you can (seven paragraphs is a usual maximum) 

remember that anything you say may be put at the beginning and used as the main point of 

your story 

have a spokesperson, preferably one of your group's office holders - use direct quotes 

format double-spaced with wide margins using one side of A4 paper 

• write 'ends' at the end of the media release 

give names and contact details for people who can offer more information, or might be 

interviewed at length or for a 'sound-bite' 

give media outlets (radio, TV, newspapers, etc.) equal opportunity. 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 1 1 

Sample media release 



[Headline] Young people raising their voices 

[Introduction or angle] 

READ MY LIPS is an exciting one-day event, aimed at getting young people's voices 
heard by society's decision-makers. 

This paragraph answers the 'what?' question, as well as giving an 'interesting' angle or 
fact to get the reader's interest. It shouldn't be longer than 35 words. 


The READ MY LIPS event has been created by a group of young people from Wellington 
wanting to encourage more youth to speak out about the issues that are important to 
them. The event, on 1 5 May, at the Smith Hall in Wellington, aims to fire up their thoughts 
and passions and offer help with ways to get their voices heard. 

777/s paragraph has the 'when?' and 'who?' questions. 

READ MY LIPS secretary Jo Bloggs says the event offers training workshops for young 


'It's about how to write submissions, organise events, and other ways to get their voices 
out to the public. Young people will be talking about local and global youth issues, and 
encourage others to speak out on things that are important to them. 

This paragraph gives more information about the event and who will attend. 

'Young people are often overlooked by our politicians and our voices aren't often heard. 
We are here to share the skills to make a change and get our message out there,' said Jo. 

Quote from someone involved in the event, which also answers the 'why?' question. 


15 May 2010 

10am - 3pm 

Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington. 

Event details 



For more information contact: Jo Bloggs, Ph 123 4567, . 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 12 


Who do you want to know about your event or group? Have a list of the media you want 
to contact - is it local media, regional media or the whole country, or international? Have 
a list of all appropriate media and choose the ones you want for each media release. List 
the info® email addresses, or generic newsroom addresses, not individual email addresses 
because journalists might be out of the office. 

Find out how each newsroom wants to receive information - some smaller newsrooms still 
use fax. Others do not like to have attachments to emails and prefer you to cut and paste 
your media release in the body of the email. You can follow up your media release with a 
phone call to newsrooms you particularly want to target. 

Upload the media release to your own website and link from your social media and blog 
pages. Email links to your associate groups so they know what's happening. 

You can opt to send your media release through one of the online news outlets. Websites 
such as Scoop ( and Newsroom ( 
publish media releases directly at no charge, and CommunityNet Aotearoa has a free news 
noticeboard ( 

Doing media interviews 

For many people, being interviewed by the media can be a stressful experience. To get your 
message across clearly and make the most of an interview, it pays to be prepared. 

General media interview checklist 

Some general tips on interviews for radio, TV or print include: 

find out the reporter's name (ask for a business card) 
find out the context of the interview 
be on time for the interview 

• do your homework - get the facts and have back-up data on hand 

know the main message you want to convey and how to weave it into every answer you 

give. That way, even if your answers are cut and spliced during the editing process, your 

message will still come through 

write down answers to any questions you think may be asked - you can use these as a 

prompt, which is really useful if you're feeling nervous. Know what you want to say 

and say it. 

speak clearly using short natural sentences, and take your time 

keep to your topic - don't ramble 

ask for clarification if you don't understand a question 

if you don't know an answer to a question, be honest and say you don't know. You can say 

that you will get back to them with an answer later on 

• don't let the interviewer 'rattle' you. Keep calm and respond politely and firmly. Move or lean 
forward into the interviewer's space if you feel they're getting hostile 

if you think you've made a mistake or said something that's wrong, don't be frightened to 
tell the reporter or ask them to fix it 
relax and enjoy it as much as possible. 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 13 

TV and radio interview checklist 

Specific tips for TV and radio interviews are: 

remember that TV is radio with pictures. This means that, for TV, you need to appear as 

relaxed as possible - smile when appropriate 

for TV, think about what you're wearing 

concentrate on the interviewer rather than any background technical processes 

• if the interview is pre-recorded, stop and re-start if you want to change something 

for radio, because no one can see you, or read what you have said, this means your voice 
and how you use it is really important. Use a warm vocal tone and lots of inflection when 
making your points 

• ask if it's possible to get a list or indication of the questions you'll be asked ahead of time 
but accept that the interviewer might change the question line according to your answers. 

• for radio, even though there are heaps of people listening in, imagine you are talking to just 
one person 

• it's good to have just one or two key messages to finish the interview on, so people go away 
with that in their minds. 

Tip: For more tips on preparing for a media interview, visit: 
mediainterviewprep.htm . 

Corrections and complaints procedures 

If you feel you have been misquoted, your comments taken out of context, or that you have 
been unfairly treated, there are procedures for correcting or complaining about what the 
media has said. These include: 

If it is a matter of wrong fact(s), you can simply ask the media to correct it. 

* If it's a matter of varying interpretation, weigh up whether you want to raise the matter again 
in the public eye. If you want to proceed, write a letter to the editor rather than demand a 
different version. 

• If you have been misquoted or mistreated, go direct to the head of the news section and say 

Formal complaints should be a last resort. However if you wish to proceed, there are formal 

• For written media (including websites) - contact NZ Press Council, see: http://www. . 

• For radio or TV - contact the Broadcasting Standards Authority, see: http://www.bsa. . 

Communicating with government 

One of the roles of community groups is to bring issues to the attention of government 
so they can be addressed at a national or local level through legislation. Community 
participation is a vital part of democracy, and community organisations represent people 
and opinions that might not otherwise be heard. 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 11: Communications 14 

Communicating with central government 

Some of the more common ways of having your say with central government include: 


making a submission to a select committee 

making a submission to a parliamentary inquiry 

petitions to Parliament 

official information requests 

talking or writing a letter to a Minister or your local MP (Member of Parliament). 

Government policy development 

In order to influence government decision-making, it is useful to understand the typical 
pattern of policy development by central government. This is represented in Figure 1 . 

Figure 1 : Government Policy Development Cycle 

1 . Defining 
the problem 

2. Developing 

and analysing 


Community organisations are typically involved in the policy development process 
at two stages: 

Defining the problem (stage 1) and Developing and analysing alternatives (stage 2). 
These are the stages when the government consults the relevant stakeholders. This should 
include consultation with relevant groups on issues that affect the community. 
Evaluation (stage 5). This is the stage when government agencies seek feedback on how 
well their policies and initiatives worked. 

While there are no absolute timeframes for government policy development, there is an 
overall annual Budget cycle that can provide a general timeframe for focusing your efforts: 

the government financial year is from 1 July to 30 June 
Budgets are usually announced in May for the following year 
• the first two stages of the policy development cycle will be going on up to a year earlier. 
By August/September of the previous year, the 'budget process' will be under way, with 
government officials developing proposals. However, groups should note that there are always 
more proposals than available funding, so many worthwhile proposals do not make the cut. 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 15 


Lobbying is a planned effort to advocate and influence political decision-making. Some 
lobby groups (such as the Business Roundtable) are rich and powerful and able to put a lot 
of resources into lobbying. Community groups seldom have much in the way of resources, 
but they do have the most important resource of all: people, and as a resource they can be 
as powerful as money. 

Lobbying is important because: 

what you have to say can make a difference to policies and legislation 
it is a legitimate part of a democratic system - allowing people to have their say 
it provides a vehicle for you to communicate your kaupapa, philosophy, values or beliefs 
your perspective and knowledge is valuable and unique. Members of Parliament, policy- 
makers, councillors and officials need to be informed by people working at a grassroots 
level, from which they are often removed. 

Successful lobbying usually involves both direct and indirect lobbying. Direct lobbying 
involves meeting face-to-face with political leaders and others of influence, discussing 
proposals and arguing your cause (see direct lobbying checklist). Indirect lobbying can 
involve bringing pressure to bear through the media so that an issue receives public 
attention, in preparation for a direct approach. It may also involve visiting opposition party 
members or opponents in the business community. 

Direct lobbying checklist 

The following checklist can be used as a guide to directly lobbying someone, including a 
Minister or local MP: 

make appointments with those you want to lobby and ask how much time is available so 

you can use it to your best advantage 

have two or three well-briefed speakers 

prepare a written summary of your case, your organisation's origin and credentials and its 

area of work, refer to it at the meeting, then submit it when you depart 

agree on the order of speaking and the issues each speaker will address 

• assign someone to be the record-keeper 
arrive five minutes early 

introduce your party 

note who is present and who you might best contact later 

make your most important points first 

be ready to summarise if your time is cut short 

understate your case rather than overstate it - you only want the person to agree with you, 

not join you 

be prepared for questions and know what are your long-term as well as your immediate 


present your case clearly and base your arguments on solid facts 

• use visual aids if possible 

be confident or at least give the appearance of confidence 

leave when you have covered all the ground 

write a note of thanks for the time you were given to present your case. 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 16 

In the case of a local Member of Parliament (MP), where electorate 'clinics' are 
usually run on Saturdays and/or Sundays: 

make an appointment through the electorate office 

remember the meeting is more informal and probably shorter with less media interest than a 
Parliamentary visit 
■ make a particular effort to gather and summarise expressions of local support (which to an 
MP are potential votes) 
be as prepared as you would be for a Parliamentary visit. 

Tip: For more information on lobbying, see Political Lobbying: How to plan and deliver a 
strategy written by former MP, Tim Barnett: . 

Making a submission to a select committee 

Making a submission to a select committee is a good opportunity to have your voice heard 
by government and be part of the decision-making process. Essentially, this is giving your 
opinion on a new law (all of which start life off as a Bill) or a change to an old one. 

Select committees 

There are up to 13 subject-area select committees, each focusing on one or two national 
topics like health or justice. There are also five specialist select committees which deal more 
with procedural matters, plus any number of ad hoc committees that are set up from time 
to time for particular purposes. About seven to 1 2 MPs from different parties in Parliament 
work on each select committee; committee membership can change. 

Tip: For more information on all select committees, visit: 

The current 1 5 subject select committees are: 

Commerce - business development, commerce, communications, consumer affairs, 

energy, information technology, insurance and superannuation 

Education and Science - education, education review, industry training, research, science 

and technology 

Electoral Legislation — to consider and report to it on such legislation concerning the 

referendum on the electoral system and reform to the electoral finance regime that may be 

referred to it. 

Emissions Trading Scheme Review — to review the Emissions Trading Scheme and 

related matters. 

Finance and Expenditure - audit of the Crown's and departmental financial statements, 

Government finance, revenue and taxation 

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade - customs, defence, disarmament and arms control, 

foreign affairs, immigration and trade 

Government Administration - civil defence, cultural affairs, fitness, sport and leisure, 

internal affairs, Pacific Island affairs, Prime Minister and Cabinet, racing, services to 

Parliament, State services, statistics, tourism, women's affairs and youth affairs 


Justice and Electoral - Crown legal and drafting services, electoral matters, human rights 

and justice 

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Section 11: Communications 17 

Law and Order - corrections, courts, criminal law, police and serious fraud 

Local Government and Environment - conservation, environment and local government 

Maori Affairs 

Primary Production - agriculture, biosecurity, fisheries, forestry, lands and land information 

Social Services - housing, senior citizens, social welfare, veterans' affairs and work and 

income support 

Transport and Industrial Relations - accident compensation, industrial relations, labour, 

occupational health and safety, transport and transport safety. 

The five current specialist select committees are: 

Business - facilitation of House business 

Officers of Parliament - appropriations and appointments of the Auditor-General, the 

Ombudsmen, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment 

Privileges - matters of Parliamentary privilege 

Regulations Review - examination of legal instruments variously known as 'regulations', 

'delegated legislation' and 'subordinate legislation' made under delegated powers in an Act 

of Parliament 

Standing Orders - House procedures and practices. 

One of the jobs of the select committee is to examine Bills and then report back to 
Parliament. The select committee finds out what New Zealanders think through a public 
submission process. This means that anyone can see what you (or your group) have said. 

How do you know what Bills are being proposed? 

The New Zealand Parliament website has a section dedicated to select committees, where 
you can see the Bills that are currently before select committees, which submissions are 
being called for, the closing date for submissions and where to send your submission. 
You can also see submissions different organisations have made on Bills. Go to: www. 
parliament. nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/ . Most Bills are also advertised in the 'public notices' section 
of newspapers around New Zealand to encourage submissions. 

The submission process 

A submission may be written or verbal or a combination of both. You may speak to a written 
submission and it is usual to present written material to support a verbal submission. An 
effective and powerful submission is a simple one that sets out your own or the group's 
views on the subject. 

Written submissions 

Some useful tips for making a written submission to a select committee are: 

Get a copy of the Bill you wish to make a submission about. They can be bought from 
Bennett's Government bookshops or Bills Digests can be downloaded from the New 
Zealand Parliament website - 
BillsDigests/ . The digests summarise the content of the Bills and are easier to read than the 
Bills themselves. Each digest also contains a link to the document of the Bill in full. 
Discuss the Bill as a group. Do a bit of research. What are other people saying about it? It 
might be useful to plan your submission with other groups who share your views. 
Sort out the key points you wish to make about the Bill. In most cases limit this to one to 
three main points to keep your submission focused. 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 18 

Write your draft submission. Say: 

• Who you are - give your credentials for making a submission on the Bill. Include your 
name and contact details. 

• Whether you support or oppose the Bill - and why. 

• What impact it might have on the people that you work with. 

Keep your submission short and to the point. Use subheadings for the different points you 

• Try to be constructive - even when you totally oppose the Bill. 

Get someone else to check your submission before you send it off. Ask them to check: 

• how clear your message is - does it make sense? 

• that the submission keeps to the subject of the Bill 

• if anything needs more explanation. Remember, you are the expert in your field, you can't 
expect the members of the select committee to know the details about your area. 

• spelling and grammar - it all makes an impression. 

• Say whether you want to appear before the committee. This can be very useful to make 
a point - especially if you are based in or near Wellington, or the committee is hearing 
submissions in your area. 

Check the closing date, how many copies you need and send it off. Remember to keep a 
copy - especially if you are going to appear before the committee. 

Oral submissions 

• Some tips on appearing before a select committee and presenting an oral submission are: 
Find out who is on the committee and, if possible, what their views might be. Identify your 
potential allies on the committee. Your task is to help them build their argument for/against 
the Bill. 

If you can, go along to a meeting of the select committee and observe how it operates. A 
weekly schedule is posted on the Parliament website: 
SC/ . This indicates what sessions are open to the public. 

Appearing before the committee is an opportunity to put a human face to your submission. 
You will be invited to present your submission and then answer questions. Keep your 
presentation short and: 

• introduce yourself, your group and your credentials for making a submission on this topic. 

• outline the key points in your submission very briefly, but don't go into details. Committee 
members will have already read your submission so you don't need to read it out. 

• give an example of how this proposed legislation will affect people you work with. This 
adds a personal touch that can get the committee members more interested than 

• don't be put off by difficult questions - stick to your points and what you know. It's a good 
idea to make sure you have someone with direct fieldwork experience who can illustrate 
your points with anecdotes and examples that give the human dimension. 

Community Resource Kit Section 11: Communications 19 

Tip: For further details on the submission process (written and verbal), refer to the booklet 
Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee available from the Parliament 
website: . 

The Ministry of Youth Development's Presenting a submission to a Select Committee 
action guide will also be useful: 
aotearoa-youth-voices-toolkit.html . nz/guide2003/hpw/selectcoms.html#submission 

Parliamentary inquiries 

Select committees can also hold inquiries within their subject area in response to some 
community concern. They can call for public submissions and request evidence from 
organisations that may be the subject of the inquiry. After considering the evidence, 
committees may report to Parliament with findings and recommendations. The Government 
must respond to recommendations within 90 days. 

These parliamentary inquiries vary in nature according to the relevant concerns at the time. 
Examples of some recent inquiries include: 

inquiry into the operation of the Maori Community Development Act 1962 and related issues 
by the Maori Affairs Select Committee (initiated 29 July 2009) 

inquiry into how to improve completion rates of childhood immunisation by the Health Select 
Committee (initiated 12 February 2010) 

Tip: You can find out what inquiries are open for submission by referring to the New 
Zealand Parliament website (under 'Committee business summary: Other business 
before select committees') - . 

Working parties / advisory groups 

In many policy areas, government agencies may establish joint working parties or advisory 
groups that include representatives of community organisations. Some examples of 
significant policy projects that involve community sector representatives are: 

• the Office of the Community and Voluntary Sector's Generosity Hub project to raise the level 
of giving in all its forms in our communities 

the Ministry of Social Development's Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families, 
including the Campaign for Action on Family Violence initiative. 

Typically, these groups will call for formal submissions from the community sector during a 
consultation period and may also hold consultation meetings and hui to hear community views. 

Petitions to Parliament 

People can request that the House of Representatives take action on a matter of public 
policy or law, or to address a personal grievance, by presenting a petition to the House, 
through their local Member of Parliament (MP). 

A petition is a document signed by one person or many people. The petition is referred 
to the appropriate committee, which decides whether to seek submissions from affected 
people or organisations. If the committee reports to the House with recommendations, the 
Government must respond within 90 days. 

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Section 1 1 : Communications 20 

Petitions don't generally contain the same large amount of supporting evidence as a 
submission. However petitions should: 

have the front page signed 

have each page containing signatures headed with the petitioner's request 
use respectful, moderate, and to-the-point language 
• not have any attached documents. 

Tip: For full details on how to prepare a petition and the petition process, refer to the 
booklet Petitioning the House of Representatives available from the 'Get involved' 
section of the New Zealand Parliament website - 

Official information requests 

Official information is any information held by government, including: 

government Ministers 

government departments, organisations and state-owned enterprises 

• the New Zealand Police 

• city, district or regional councils 

school boards of trustees, universities, polytechnics and other tertiary education institutions, 


district health boards. 

Tip: A full list of the organisations you can request information from is listed in the 
Directory of Official Information available from the Ministry of Justice website: http:// . 

The law 

The two Acts governing access to official information are: 

the Official Information Act 1982 

the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1 987. 

The guiding principle is that information must be made available unless good reason exists 
under the Acts for withholding it. 

The process 

Anyone can make a request for information from those people and organisations listed 
above and the process is the same for all of them. 

Some useful tips on the official information request process are: 

Put your question in writing and explain clearly what you are asking. Remember to include 

your address so they know where to send a reply. 

All requests should be answered within 20 working days. If it will take longer, the 

organisation or Minister will tell you about the delay and the reason for it. 

Generally, the first hour of time spent processing a request and the first 20 pages of 

photocopying are free. A fee may be charged but this has to be reasonable and related to 

the cost of providing the answer to your request. 

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Section 11: Communications 21 

Tip: For more details on official information requests visit: 

• Office of the Ombudsmen - Official information complaints: http://www. 
ombudsmen. . 

• Ministry of Justice - Official Information: Your Right To Know - http://www.justice. . 

Writing to politicians 

Every day politicians make decisions about things that affect your community and your life. 
If you want them to make decisions that will be good for you and your community, write it 
down and let them know what you think. 

You could write a letter by yourself, on behalf of your organisation, or you could organise a 
letter-writing campaign. 

The first thing you need to work out is who the best person is to write to: 

Electorate MPs are usually interested in what people from their electorate think about an 


Cabinet Ministers are the decision-makers in the Government and have areas of 

responsibility (portfolios). So write to the Minister who best covers the issue you are 

concerned about. 

The Prime Minister (PM) is the leader of the Government. Write to the PM about big 

national and international issues. 

The relevant contact details for these people can be found in various places. 

Your local electorate MPs' contact details are available at: . 

Cabinet Ministers, their portfolios and contact details are available at: http://www. beehive. . You can email MPs. 

You can write to any MP, Minister or the Prime Minister for FREE at: 

(Full name) 

Freepost Parliament 

PO Box 1 8888 

Wellington 61 60. 

Some important things to remember when writing to politicians include: 

explain why a particular issue is important to you and your community or New Zealanders as 
a whole 

• don't assume that the politician will already know everything 
be clear and to-the-point 

be constructive 

• always use facts 

make sure that you state your name and address, so that they can write back to you. 

Tip: For more information on communicating with politicians, refer to the Gef involved 
section of the Parliament website: 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 1 1 : Communications 22 

Communicating with local government 
Local government relationships 

While central government is mainly concerned with national issues, local government (which 
includes regional, city and district councils) has a local or regional focus. Local government 
has a responsibility for community 'well-being', which covers social, economic, cultural 
and environmental aspects. However, everything that local government does is within the 
legislative framework established and maintained by Parliament. 

Ways of having your say 

There are different ways that you can have your say on local government matters. 
These include: 

making a submission on things such as: 

• a council plan (including the long-term council community plan or annual plan) 
publicly notified resource consents 

• council consultation processes 

• other proposals 

official information requests (the same process as detailed for central government) 
attending public council meetings, and 
direct lobbying. 

Tip: For more information on participating in local government see: 

Participate-in-Local-Government-lndex . 

M%C4%81 ori-Participation-in-Local-Government-lndex . 

Local authority planning 

Under the Local Government Act 2002, local authorities must undertake a robust planning 
process. This starts with community consultation to determine the community's needs and 
wants (called community outcomes). 

Councils then develop a plan showing which outcomes it can work with and how it will 
do so. Councils are not obliged to take up everything raised but must address the most 
important issues and aspirations. 

Under the Local Government Act 2002, councils must prepare Long-Term Council 
Community Plans (LTCCPs) (Long-Term Plans for Auckland Council) every three years, and 
annual plans in the other two years. A key input into LTCCPs is the community outcomes 

Community outcomes 

Community outcomes describe what people think is important for their local community, 
now and in the future. These community outcomes describe the aspirations and priorities of 
local communities, and are a guide for groups and organisations serving the community. 

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Section 1 1 : Communications 23 

Community outcomes: 

• are identified through a consultation process that local authorities must lead at least every 
six years. During this process the community discusses and prioritises the things that are 
important for its future, and how they can be achieved. 

• are not the responsibility of a single organisation. Councils are not bound by them, but must 
report on them in the LTCCP and monitor them on a regular, three-yearly cycle. 

provide a guide to groups about what people want for their community. A wide range of 
organisations and groups within communities can contribute towards community outcomes, 
belong to the local community and can be changed only through consultation with the 

Community and voluntary organisations can get involved in the community outcomes 
process in a number of ways, including: 

taking part in the consultation process - ways of consultation depend on each local 
authority and can vary from surveys to public meetings and hui to road shows 
making a submission to long-term and annual plans (see below) 
taking part in community projects - contact your local authority to find out when they 
are talking with their community, what they are discussing, and how to get involved in 
community activities. 

Tip: For more information on Community Outcomes visit: . 

Long-Term Council Community Plans (LTCCP) 

The LTCCP is the key long-term planning tool for councils and it sets out a council's 
priorities in the medium to long term. It outlines how the council intends to contribute to 
community outcomes and it provides the main opportunity for the community to participate 
in local decision-making. 

The LTCCP is the primary planning document against which annual plans and annual 
reports are considered and against which communities can gauge whether or not councils 
are on track in terms of achieving the aims outlined through the community outcomes 
processes. Every three years, citizens have the opportunity to express their views on the 

Tip: More information on Long-Term Council Community Plans and adopted 2009-2019 
local authority LTCCPs are available from: . 

Annual plan 

The annual plan process focuses on year-to-year budgets. Councils prepare an annual plan 
in each of the two years between LTCCP reviews, and set out what the council plans to do 
in the next 1 2 months to move towards achieving its goals. These plans are adopted before 
the commencement of the financial year in July, following a submission process. 

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Section 1 1 : Communications 24 

Annual report 

The annual report tells the community whether the council has done what the LTCCP said 
the council intended to do. The report also provides details of what has been spent, as well 
as indicating what progress the council has made towards achieving community outcomes. 
Annual reports must be adopted by 31 October each year. 


The submission procedures involved, and the relevant forms to be completed, are set out 
on your local council's website. Often there are online forms available on which to make 
your submission e.g. on publicly notified applications for resource consent. There may also 
be online survey forms available for other circumstances. 

Tip: Details of all local council websites are available from: http://www.localcouncils. . 

Attending public council meetings 

Anyone can attend any public meetings of the council or its committees. Councils meet as 
regularly as they consider appropriate for the issues facing their communities. They publish 
a monthly schedule of their ordinary council and committee meetings. These are usually 
found on the council's website or in the public notices of local newspapers. The public can 
be excluded from public meetings in certain circumstances. 


To lobby council officers, use much the same process as for a local MP. 

Make a preliminary visit to a council meeting to see who is most likely to be effective in your 
situation, or to hear a debate about the subject of your concern. 
Do some research to find out who is taking an active interest in the community and what 
position or opinion they already hold. 

Tip: Most councils include copies of proposals currently out for consultation and the 
relevant consultation procedures for having your say on their website, or they are 
available from the council offices. For contact details visit: http://www.localcouncils. . 

Monitoring of local government performance 

It is useful to know that there are a number of central government agencies involved in 
monitoring local government's performance, including the handling of complaints about the 
activities and operation of local government. For example: 

The Department of Internal Affairs provides information about local government to Ministers, 

councils and the public. 

The Office of the Ombudsmen will investigate complaints against local authorities if someone 

thinks they have been treated unfairly by a local authority. 

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment considers complaints from people 

about a local authority in terms of any decision it has made relating to environmental issues. 

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Section 1 1 : Communications 25 

Tip: Refer to the respective websites of these central government agencies for further 
information on how to get involved in their monitoring procedures: 

• Department of Internal Affairs - 

• Office of the Ombudsmen - 

• Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment - 

Where to go for more information 

Online resources 

1 . CommunityNet Aotearoa's How-to Guides: 

• Marketing and promotion ( ) 

• Campaigning and advocacy ( 
CampaignAdvocacy/ ) 

• Working with government agencies ( 
WorkingwithGovemmentAgencies/ ) 

2. Working with the Media - Te Papa He Rauemi Resource Guide - http://www.tepapa. . Advice on 
how to work with the media. 

3. ComVoices Communications Tool Kit - 
resources. Outlines the basic principles for identifying news opportunities and generating 
media interest and coverage. 

4. Aotearoa Youth Voices Toolkit - Ministry of Youth Development - http://www.myd. 
govt. nz/about-myd/publications/aotearoa-youth-voices-toolkit. html . A practical guide 
filled with tools and ideas on how young people can participate in decision-making. 

5. SPARC Club Kit - 
Clubs/ . See Marketing and Promotion section. 

6. Creating a Stakeholder Communications Plan - 
our-partners/Developing-Capabilities/Publications/ . SPARC'S guide to an eight- 
step communications plan designed for those who don't have a communications 

7. Funding Information Service resources - 
php?page=Resources : 

• How to write a Marketing Plan - online guide to creating a marketing plan for 
community groups and not-for-profit organisations. 

• Making the most of the Media - a brief look at how you can get your message out 
using the media. 

8. NZ Marketing Association Best Practice Guidelines - 
best_practice.php . 

Community Resource Kit 

Section 1 1 : Communications 26 

9. Our Community Resources (AUS): 

• Marketing and your Community Group ( 
marketing/marketing_main.jsp ) 

• Advocacy Help Sheets ( 
article.jsp?articleld=2384 ) 

10. Ten Steps to Stronger Nonprofit Communications (US) - http://www.socialedge. 
communications-march-2005/ . 

1 1 . Basic Press Outreach for Mission-Based Organizations (US) - http://www. - (non-profits, NGOs, civil society, public 
sector agencies, etc.) 

12. New Zealand Government - Participate and be involved - http://newzealand.govt. 
nz/participate/ . Papers/guides about participating in all government processes. 

13. New Zealand Parliament - Get Involved - 
Getlnvolved/ . Sets out the formal ways to contribute to parliamentary work. 

14. Local Coucils - . 

15. Local Government Online - . 

16. Community Outcomes - . 

Other resources 

1 . Marketing and Public Relations on a Shoestring, North Shore Community and Social 
Services. A comprehensive guide explaining marketing and public relations plans with 
tips on using the media. Order from: . 

2. 40 Marketing Must Do's, Exult Ltd. An electronic-book that outlines 40 ways to make 
the most of a small marketing budget. Available from: 
php?page=productspage#a14 . 

3. Managing Your Voluntary Agency in New Zealand, NZFVWO. See Chapter 7: 
Developing Public and Political Relations. 

4. Communications and PR Planning (for Non-Profits) - IMPACS 

5. Aotearoa Youth Voices Toolkit, Ministry of Youth Development - http://www.myd.govt. 
nz/about-myd/publications/aotearoa-youth-voices-toolkit.html . 

Community Resource Kit Section 1 1 : Communications 27